Finish these sentences.
1) If everyone who disagrees with you has been "duped," or "fooled," or otherwise misled, then . . .
2) People who automatically assume that everyone who disagrees with them is their enemy are . . .
3) When someone has a positive view about a politician I happen to despise, I can safely assume they are . . .
4) A knee jerk reaction of any sort proves that an invividual is . . .
You are being graded.
I took a recent Bill Moyers speech, and switched around two or three of his repeated points and catch phrases. Read it again and you have a classic Rush Limbaugh monologue. The fact that both men--not to mention their many devotees--would be offended by this little excercise is baffling. Don't blame me. I don't write their stuff.
You might hear people railing against the news, judging others by where they get theirs. One group will trash another for watching Fox News, or listening to AM Radio. Ask them: Where do you get your news? The Daily Show. It's like a monkey looking in a mirror.
News was, ostensibly, facts, right?. How can there be two sides to facts? Since when do we need a network,a radio host, or a comedian, interpreting for us? I like the competition between the networks, but I wonder exactly what they're competing for? Ratings is the most obvious answer, but that doesn't seem to cover it. An event unrolls the same no matter whose camera is on it. Why should they frame it for us? Trusting any of them makes you a fool. John Stewart might be a very intelligent man, and one of the finest comedic minds of the new millenium, but, like Limbaugh, he still says one thing with his mouth, and quite another with his ass. "Don't take me for the news, this is comedy! Oh, by the way, all the news networks are screwed up, so, between you and me . . ."
Political affiliations bloomed so that one person could say to another: "We have a fundamentally different philosophy." Then the two would shake hands and hope that whichever philosophy was implemented by the majority would achieve thier fundamentally identical goals for the common good, as the two working together kept each other in check. (I know this is an oversimplification, but anyone looking at the roots is bound to say they are an oversimplification of the tree.) Modern partisanship exists only to allow its denizens to formulate and verbalize a boat load of ridiculous, irresponsible assumptions and stereotypes. That is the full extent of your political affiliations in the year 2005. Sorry.
My brother tells me "Air America gives quotes, they let people crucify themselves. Listen to right wing radio, they only give their interpretation, they rarely use actual soundbites." So I took a day off from belting out Keane songs at the top of my lungs and took a listen. It took less than half an hour before the righties had played 4 or 5 soundbites from their "enemies" in their entirety, and quoted several more. My brother is an intelligent person. One of the most intelligent I know. I'm sure he wouldn't let himself fall into the category of people who constantly, openly berate and despise entities like Fox News--until you embarass them by asking how much Fox News they actually watch. (I don't watch it either, but when you bore me with how evil you think it is, you give me the right to ask if your opinion is based on anything.)
Truly, there are unfortunate results when humble, searching intelligence takes a back seat to ideology.
For instance, you might assume that Republicans are racist, forgetting that African Americans were predominantly republican until Nixon. You might assume that Democrats want your tax money, forgetting that Kennedy was one of the bigger tax cutting presidents of all time. Republicans are anti environment? A republican gave us the EPA. The list goes on and on.
The advantage of the two party system was that there was a party of increased government, and a party of limited government. (Peripheral social issues were to be relegated, for the most part, to non government.) That reasonable and necessary dichotomy no longer exists. If you still think there are dynamic differences in the political modus of either party, just wait.
One side of your mind can't stay on vacation forever.
At some point the social splinter issues you have permitted to define your political affiliation will switch sides, and you will open both eyes, and hear yourself saying:
"Wait a minute! Politics is supposed to be about GOVERNMENT."
Or you might open the other ear, and hear honest people saying what they earnestly believe, and realize they are not evil, or even ignorant, but searching, like you, for the greater good. You'll find that a republican doesn't hate Mother Earth. That democrats don't necessarily want to go around ripping the fetuses out of pregnant women. That no one is really Pro-war. Or pro-abortion. Or anti-woman. Or anti-environment. Surely, there are evil people on both sides. And there is trash on both sides. But the selfishness and blindness of such people make them historically irrelevant (not to mention mean spirited, loud, ridiculous, and very often fashionable).
It should make them politically irrelevant as well, but it doesn't.
Because we keep falling for their tripe.